I am in the process of writing a paper that I think introduces a novel concept. There are some related factors (perhaps even foundational factors) that should be worked out in order to perfect my idea. I plan on putting these ideas in a 'Future Work' section of the paper. However, I have no interest in actually doing anything I put there. After this paper, I want to move on to another topic.

Should I include those ideas in 'Future Work'? Should I state that I have no plan to work on them myself, so as not to leave anyone interested in the work 'hanging'?


It depends how you phrase it. Do not write This will be shown in a subsequent paper. Do write This and this still needs to be done.

I think it is very informative to inform the audience of the next steps that need to be taken in this research. For example, shows you are aware of shortcomings of work done so far, and it can be useful to refer to in funding applications. However, there can be many reasons why next steps are not actually carried out. It might be your personal interest, but more often than not, project-specific funding runs out, PhD students or postdocs finish and move to new institutes, etcetera.

This is particularly true for PhD theses. The final chapter may be full of future work, which, in many cases, is never carried out.

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    Remember that your "Future Research" section might inspire someone else to do the work you have outlined. It is very much worth including. – Bob Brown Jun 21 '14 at 5:47
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    I'd add to this answer, with which I agree, that the reviewers might well ask the author to complete the paper with the missing parts, especially if they feel that the effort required to complete it would not be overwhelming (say around a few months). – Massimo Ortolano Sep 9 '14 at 21:12

Instead of having a 'Future work' section, you could, under the 'Conclusion' section, discuss briefly in what ways you believe the current work can be improved. You do not have to state that you have no plan to work on the ideas yourself.

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